The car press has become the propaganda ministry of entities and individuals who either know nothing about cars or who loathe cars.
Whichever it is, the end result is the same: The writing of serially dishonest stories (and that ancient journalistic term is most apt) that anyone who does know something about cars – even if he loathes them – would notice immediately.
“The cost to implement tough fuel efficiency standards for cars imposed by the Obama Administration for the first half of the decade could be up to 40 percent lower than previously estimated using existing conventional technologies, according to a report from a nonprofit group released on Wednesday.”
Note the italicized parts.
First of all, it’s not “fuel efficiency” standards. It’s that plus the imposition of carbon dioxide “emissions” standards, which can only be complied with by burning less fuel. It’s not a small point. What Obama’s minions did was to – for the first time in American regulatory history – lump carbon dioxide in with proven harmful emissions that create or worsen smog, acid rain and make it harder for people to breathe.
But C02 does none of those things.
It hasn’t been proven to hurt anything. It is known to help many things – such as plants to grow. More and bigger and faster – which leads to more oxygen for us, plus food.
It has been claimed that vehicular production of C02 contributes to this slippery thing called “climate change.” But there are lots of assumptions there, not the least of which is how (and how much) the “climate” will “change” as a result of what cars generate, C02-wise.
Whether you believe in “climate change” is just exactly the point. It is a belief – as in a religious one. Hence the shrieks, Jim Jones-like of deniers of the religion of “climate change.”
The article does not explain.
It simply asserts – and package deals. The assumption – purveyed as fact – is that the fatwa is necessary and good; the obvious flip side of that being moral turpitude for questioning any of it.
“… could be up to 40 percent lower.”
The author of this as well as whoever copy-edited it must have previously worked for a tooth-whitening company. Yes, “up to 40 percent” lower! Which could be anything from 0 percent lower, right on down the line.
And almost certainly is less than 40 percent.
No qualification or questioning. Just “up to” 40 percent lower, which they know is to be read as “40 times lower.” In the same manner that “lose up to 40 pounds” in a week means you’re not going to lose anywhere near 40 pounds, unless you saw off a limb.
These hacks seem to like the “up to 40 percent” thing; it’s interesting that exactly the same figure was used to smear VW over the emissions of its TDI diesel engines. These were alleged to be “up to 40 percent” higher.
But might have been 1 percent higher, too.
I’ve yet to read a single car press story that points this out. It is despicable. If VW’s diesels exceeded the allowable standards, how much, exactly? Why not spell it out? The truth is it wasn’t much – a lot less than “up to 40 percent higher,” at any rate – and we aren’t even talking whole numbers.
That was not elucidated, either.
So, the purveying of the fatwa’s costs as being “40 percent lower” than originally calculated is sloppy at best, disingenuous at worst. I believe it is the latter, because of what comes next:
“…according to a report from a nonprofit group.“
And who might the “nonprofit group” happen to be? Why it is something called the International Council of Clean Transportation. And lookee, lookee here. It is funded by the ClimateWorks Foundation – the same outfit that spewed the “up to 40 times higher” stuff about the VW TDI’s exhaust emissions.
Here is the mission statement of of the ICCT:
“The International Council on Clean Transportation is an independent nonprofit organization founded to provide first-rate, unbiased research and technical and scientific analysis to environmental regulators. Its mission is to improve the environmental performance and energy efficiency of road, marine, and air transportation, in order to benefit public health and mitigate climate change.”
The article does not mention any of this, only – benignly – mewls that the regulations proposed will cost “up to 40 percent less,” as determined by a “nonprofit” . . . that just happens to be in the business of providing the agit-prop for environmental regulators to mitigate climate change.
There was a time, barely recalled, when it was the duty of a journalist to mention at the possibility of conflict of interest when mentioning, for instance, a report issued by a group that has an agenda which just happens to exactly coincide with the agenda of the regulatory body seeking to justify what it proposes.
It just gets worse. If your teeth don’t ache yet, wait. Read.
The article prints – at face value, unquestioned – that the total cost per car of the anti-C02 and fuel efficiency fatwas to the consumer as estimated by the regulators will be “just” $875 – and hey, it’ll be “up to 40 percent lower,” too.
The check’s in the mail. And I promise to pull out, too.
Even if we accept the regulators’ guaranteed lowball numbers – has there ever been a case, even one, of a federal regulation costing less than claimed? Or even merely as much as claimed? – there is no mention of the other costs.
You know, when stuff breaks.
The $875 figure (or “up to 40 percent lower” than that figure) is for the cost of the stuff added to the car – like turbochargers to boost the power of tiny – and so more fuel efficient – engines. And transmissions with as many forward gears, almost, as an 18 wheeler (to shave down engine RPMs to the minimum, to reduce how much gas the thing burns).
Well, ok. But these things cost money to fix, too. And – honest numbers – it is a lot more than $875.
A replacement turbocharger, for example, will cost you in the neighborhood of $1,500-$3,000 parts and labor, depending on the car. Turbos do fail. Usually, after the warranty coverage has elapsed. It used to be that only a small number of high-performance cars had turbocharged engines, precisely because they are cost-adders as well as performance adders.
A replacement automatic transmission that used to cost $1,000 or so when automatics had four or five speeds now involves $3,000 or more (in some cases, much more) because the equipment has twice as many gears and is an exponentially more complex and so costly piece of equipment.
Does a family car need eight, nine – ten – forward speeds?
Mind: The regulators will not pay for this – “up to 40 percent lower” or not.
But the car press, as in the sample above, never says so. Because it either doesn’t like cars – or it doesn’t understand cars.
Because it does not employ people who do.
Which is as strange a thing as hiring a bulimic-anorexic with cauterized taste buds to write restaurant reviews.
We miss you, Brock.
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